Lets get this straight. I’m not suggesting you forgo the meaty Greek moussaka we all love so much for this vegetarian one rather, I’m suggesting you give this meatless version of an aubergine classic a try. If you’re vegetarian you’ll love it. If you fancy a night without meat its well worth making. It’s a simple recipe that brings all those familiar Levantine flavours together; chickpeas, aubergines, tomatoes, yoghurt, sesame and za’atar. What’s more, this is a cheap dinner, especially if you make your own hummus. So here you go. A vegetarian moussaka.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing and drizzling
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
400g chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
6 tomatoes, sliced
400g tin chickpeas, drained
Salt and black pepper
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped
For the tahini dressing
a pinch of za’atar
Take an aubergine, chop it into bite-size cubes, lay on a plate and cover with salt. Set aside for 15 minutes to draw out all the bitter juices. Slice the other aubergine into rounds, salt and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large pan and saute the onion for 10 – 15 minutes, until it is starting to soften and caramelise.
Rinse the cubed aubergine and add to the pan with another tbsp of olive oil. Cook, stirring from time to time, for about 10 minutes until the aubergine has softened and turned golden. Stir in the garlic and cook in the heat of the pan for a couple of minutes until you can smell the aroma. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and bring everything to a simmer. Cover and cook over the lowest heat for 15 minutes.
Rinse the salt from the remaining aubergine. Preheat the grill and oil a baking sheet. Brush the aubergine slices liberally with oil and grill until golden, turning halfway through. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
Place a layer of aubergine sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then cover this with the sliced tomatoes, chickpeas and finally the grilled aubergine. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil.
Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top.
To make the dressing, stir together the yoghurt, tahini and za’atar to taste. Scatter the chopped parsley over the moussaka and serve with the tahini dressing.
Thanks to Tony Kitous for his recipe.